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Student Blogs/Lauren in Germany

Writing this, I’m sitting in Berlin Tegel Airport at 3:30 a.m., almost three hours early for my flight home. I have possibly over-prepared, but I think that’s just who I am. Thankfully all my extra time gives me one last opportunity to finish my year-abroad blog.

Lauren sitting in a "beach basket" chair on a beach.
These seats are common amongst northern German beaches. Called “Strandkorb” the name literally translates to “beach basket” which I think is adorable.

I am so grateful for the year I’ve had: it was terrifying, then exciting, then scary again and finally so uplifting. I have a hard time believing it’s actually been (just shy of) a year! I got to accomplish so much that I wanted to do and did so many things I had never even thought about. I went to Oktoberfest in Munich, Karneval in Cologne, visited friends in Leipzig, Augsburg, and Brussels, spent Christmas in Norway, and travelled with friends and by myself.

A picture of the Warnemünde Harbour in Rostock, in northern Germany. You can see boats docked on water.
Warnemünde Harbour in Rostock, northern Germany.

I also learned so much German and became much more comfortable with my language skills. I listened to techno, shopped in vintage stores, went to beer gardens and had (vegan!) currywurst and döner: how else do I prove I spent a year in Berlin? The city might not be the prettiest but it’s the perfect example of the cliché ‘its what’s inside that counts,’ because in the dingy streets of this city I found a place I could call home. The atmosphere in this city is truly special: it’s parks, bars, second-hand shops, clubs, markets, beaches, restaurants, culture and history all contribute to the unique feeling you get when you’re here. Berlin has been the most amazing home this year and I’m so grateful that I could spend this time abroad.

A picture of Dresdens Frauenkirche, a Lutheran church in Dresden, Germany.
Dresdens Frauenkirche, an iconic Dresden building.
A picture of Brandenburger Tor, a monument in Berlin.
Brandenburger Tor, one of Berlins most iconic symbols.
Lauren and three friends sitting on grass.

My year abroad wasn’t special solely because of the natural charisma of the city: I met some incredible people along the way. I guess I’ve used a few clichés already, so I’ll use this one too: the friends that I’ve made while abroad have genuinely changed my life and made me a better person.

Lauren and four of her friends eating and drinking at a picnic table by a body of water.

I am so grateful for everyone I had the privilege of meeting this year, the bonds we forged during our year abroad together will last a lifetime, despite being so far away. During this last week saying goodbye to my friends, I could recall very clearly how I met each and every one of them. Saying goodbye to everyone was incredibly difficult and I can’t believe my time with them is over, but I’ll cherish the memories we’ve made together. I’m looking forward to couch surfing across Europe and seeing everyone again, sometime in the future.

Lauren with two friends.

Leaving Germany is a bit bittersweet; I’m sad to go, but I’m excited to go home for the first time since I arrived in September. After a serious bout of homesickness in January, and then again during quarantine, I’m looking forward to seeing my family and friends, and being home. I would not have been successful this year if it were not for the support network I had at home. Late night FaceTime calls, Canadian care packages, encouraging messages from friends and family and ongoing support from Sprott helped make this year a little easier. I’m excited for what this next year has in store for me, and I know I’ll be back in Germany sometime in the future.

Lauren with three friends.

Tschüss ! 

Lauren and two of her friends.

Lauren is a third-year Bachelor of International Business (BIB) student who studied abroad in Germany. 

Sprott School of Business
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6
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